LONDON - The Premier League has ensured through rigorous
testing that it is ready to return on June 17 after a 100-day hiatus
due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All players and club staff have been tested for Covid-19 twice weekly
since a return to training on May 19.
After over 7,000 tests, only 14 positive results have been found and
now all Premier League clubs have decided on the rules for the "new
normal" of English football.
Here is how each of the 92 remaining fixtures will work:
On match day, each player and staff member of the club
will fill out a screening questionnaire and have their temperature
checked before entering the stadium. They will record these results
in a "clinical passport" that will be used as an app on their phone
or a piece of paper to confirm their Covid-19 status. If they have
tested negative in the last five days, they will be allowed to enter.
If there is a suspect case of Covid-19, confirmed by a registered
officer, the person will be turned away and told to self-isolate. If
it is a person involved in the match itself, the game could be called
off but that is judged on circumstance.
The Premier League encourages air travel for teams on
long-haul trips, for example, Southampton to Newcastle United. For
shorter journeys, up to three coaches may be used to
socially-distance players and other staff must travel individually in
their own vehicles. Overnight stays in hotels is permitted but the
league says to avoid this option if possible.
PERSONS IN STADIUMS:
Stadiums are divided into three zones and the
total capacity must not exceed more than 300 people. These consist of
players, staff, scouts, media and doping control officers. The zones
are labelled red, amber and green. The red zone is the playing area
where there should be no more than 110 people at any time with 37 red
zone pass holders per team. In terms of media, there will be one
match commentator for the broadcast rights holders of BBC Radio 5
Live and Talksport. Summarizers will be asked to provide their
comments live from their homes. There will be a maximum of 25 written
media along with club performance analysts in the amber zone tribune.
The green zone is stadium exterior for persons involved with
If a club has a small changing room that is impossible
to guarantee social distancing, clubs may turn hospitality boxes into
extra changing room space. Post-match showers are allowed and
distance must be observed. Medical staff must wear PPE (Personal
Protective Equipment) face masks when treating injured players.
TEAMS ON PITCH:
The teams enter the pitch separately and also
separately from the match officials. They are not allowed to enter
side-by-side. There will be no ball children or mascots and
handshakes between players and captains are suspended. There will be
a one-minute drinks break per half to ease fatigue in high
temperature weather and players must use hand sanitizer or gel each
time they enter or leave the pitch.
ON THE SUBS' BENCH:
Players will be required to sit two seats apart
while face masks are optional instead of compulsory. The league has
increased the number of substitutes from seven to nine in light of
the rule change that the number of substitutes allowed to be used has
increased from three to five. The technical areas will increase in
size accordingly. Balls, corner flags, goalposts and substitute
boards are to be regularly disinfected at appropriate intervals.
BEHAVIOUR DURING GAMES:
Players have been asked not to spit or "clear
their nose" during games and goal celebrations must not break social
distancing rules so any form of contact is prohibited.
AFTER THE MATCH:
Broadcast media will be allowed to conduct TV
interviews after the game at a safe distance outside and away from
the pitch. Post-match news conferences with coaches and written media
will be held on videoconference platform Zoom.
There will be no simulation of stadium atmosphere during
games but music when teams enter the pitch and after goals is
permitted. Broadcasters Sky Sports and BT Sport are introducing
optional crowd noise for viewers during their live coverage of the